On 27 October 1994 – the first digital advertisement was implemented – for clarification the first advertisement on an online medium – i.e. a banner ad. It was an AT&T ad and was featured on HotWired.com. This is what it looked like:



From today’s perspective, there are several noteworthy points about this breakthrough event:

● No other online advertisement existed before, so people didn’t even know to click on it, which is why the banner directly stated the challenge.
● Today, it is clear that you can click through from the ad to the website, but back then it was a novelty and the client had to have a page made for this purpose.
● The click-through rate (CTR) of this ad was a whopping 44% . Today, we are three orders of magnitude lower with conventional banner ads.
● And the subject of the campaign is interesting. The banner was part of the “You Will” campaign, which represented futuristic possibilities at the time. From today’s perspective, it’s mind-boggling what has become a normal part of our lives in those few decades. The commercials are available on YouTube .

Online advertising has developed rapidly and steeply and with it several now well-known companies and solutions have emerged. We will briefly list a few of them :

In 1996, the ad server solution DoubleClik was created (later acquired by Google in 2007). It was not the only ad server, but the most well-known from today’s perspective. In general, ad serving technology made it easy to manage online advertising. Without an ad server, each ad had to be manually inserted into the site by a developer. Ad servers handed this capability to people without direct access to HTML code. They also made it possible to target ads according to certain criteria and offered statistics on metrics achieved.
● In 1996, the IAB was founded.
● The Google search engine was born in 1998 in direct response to the growing number of websites. Until then, there were only site directories such as AltaVista.
● In 2000, Google introduced AdWords, which revolutionised the way paid search advertising was delivered. Incidentally, the pay-per-click (PPC) model was only added to AdWords in 2002.
● Facebook was launched in 2004, Twitter 2006, Istagram 2010…
● In 2010 the OpenRTb Consortium was founded and shortly afterwards the OpenRTB standard was defined. In the following two years, DSP, SSP and other systems for working with online advertising automation were massively developed. Thus, orders no longer needed to be mailed or faxed, but display advertising began to be sold online.
● The Prebid.sj solution for easier work with header bidding was created in 2015 and since then header bidding solutions started to spread massively.
● 2006, according to IAB data, for the first time, mobile advertising investments (spends) were higher than desktop
● In 2007, Apple introduced the iPhone and Google quickly followed with Android OS. These systems changed the rules of the game. As a direct consequence of the massive proliferation of smartphones, the cost of internet connectivity has dropped and today “being online” is as commonplace as having working electricity. After 2007, a massive increase in the number of sales of smart (mobile) devices began, which at the same time exceeded the decline in sales of traditional desktop computers by several times (see chart below).
● Apple has decided to stop using cookies on its systems. Other internet browsers and app providers have followed suit. All operators have phased out cookies except Google, which plans to end cookies in 2024 (but has already postponed the date twice).
● In 20018, the European Union’s GDPR legislation came into force, which will fundamentally change the way we work with personal data, changing the previously common OPT-OUT principle to OPT-IN.


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